Rest: Surely There’s an App for That?


“I imagine a little window decorated with pink sequins, a rainbow and a unicorn, magically opening in front of me, announcing, ‘You’re running out of energy. Please stop!'”

By Tara Rodden Robinson |Twitter: @tararodden

The desktop of my computer is cluttered with the digital equivalent of wadded sheets of paper. A dozen abandoned starts. A ream of little thoughts and half finished ideas. A paragraph here. A sentence there. And I’m sitting in the midst of it, pondering our SheLoves topic of rest.

It seems like I need a set of instructions to tell me to rest. In the midst of my going, doing, traveling, and moving, there should be a pop-up warning, like the one my cell phone gives me when the battery has only 20% of its charge left. I imagine a little window decorated with pink sequins, a rainbow and a unicorn, magically opening in front of me, announcing, “You’re running out of energy. Please stop!”

That’s it. Just “please stop.” Stop whatever you’re doing. Stop and be still. Surely there’s a app for that? I should get busy and design one, except that I’m too tired.

Isn’t fatigue supposed to signal a need for rest? When did I lose my sensitivity to this signal? When did I overwrite my internal programming that said, “When you feel tired, you’re supposed to rest”? Now, when I begin to feel worn down, my internal programmer says, “Keep going, try harder.” Where did that come from? Who did that to me?

Oh, wait a minute—I came up with that.

In her beautiful book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown talks about her “dig-deep” button.

“You know the dig-deep button, right? It’s the button you rely on when you’re too bone-tired to please/perform/perfect the way you normally do… The dig-deep button is a secret level of pushing through when we’re exhausted and overwhelmed, and when there’s too much to do and too little time for self-care.”

I know Brené’s dig-deep button very well. Except, being somewhat technologically inclined, I have added dig-deep apps, checklists and task management software that includes reminders texted to my phone. iDigDeep. Oh yes, I certainly do.

Fortunately, Brené has a formula for turning dig-deep into something more human and heart-centered. From her research on people who live ‘Wholeheartedly’, she’s transformed dig into an acronym:




This kind of Dig Deep is not about “trying harder.” This Dig Deep is the pause at the end of an exhalation, the one that marks the space for the next inhalation.

Deliberate means to think, to notice, to consider. Being deliberate is to act on purpose, from clarity and discernment. Let the dust settle.

Inspired by the clarity, there are alternatives. More choices than just “try harder.”

Then, get going. Or not.

During a guided meditation this morning, I was invited to focus on that pause, the moment of rest between breaths. Just being in that stillness, over and over, was profoundly energizing. One might even say: restful. The teacher also warned us against trying harder. “If you feel restless,” he said, “relax.” What he meant by restless was fidgety. But that’s not what I heard. What I heard was rest-less, as in “without rest.” Each time I felt that sensation of being without rest, throughout the meditation period, I unclenched and released tension wherever I felt it.

Put another way, I stopped trying so hard.

Afterward, I had this urge to look for a mediation app or a class to sign up for. And then I remembered my breath. The exhalation. The pause. Maybe I know everything I need to know about rest after all.


Dear SheLoves sisters:

  • Do you need a stop sign or an app to tell you to rest?
  • What strategies have you implemented in your life to help you rest?
  • Would the “dig-deeper” formula work for you?


About Tara:

Tara Rodden Robinson is an author, coach, and educator. Known as The Productivity Maven, she blogs at tararobinson and tweets @tararodden. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon, with her husband and their two dogs. She is working on mastering complex yoga poses and searching for the perfect gluten-free bread recipe. When she’s not writing, coaching, or teaching, she’s out in the wilderness hiking and watching birds.







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